Sunday, 8 February 2009

Guitar Zero

So I played Guitar Hero for the first time last night on Katies wii. I've resisted this long but it was offered and like a fool I chose to have a go, and, well, found it pretty dull to be honest. (Not like those two guys from above that came up in a youtube search for guitar hero)

First of all, what I found difficult to understand was exactly how unlike playing the guitar "Guitar" Hero is. I've been playing about with the guitar for about seven years now. I'm not fantastic or anywhere near it but I know my way about the instrument and my skills are passable (Although they've been dwindling over the last few years), now with guitar hero, I went to it thinking like that, it looks like a guitar so surely it should work like one. Unfortunately what I had strapped around my shoulders was not a guitar, but a guitar shaped remote control. What it should be called is "remote control hero" although I don't think that would have sold so well.

Now with Guitar Hero, you have to press these coloured buttons where the first four frets should be. and twiddle this big switch on the body of the remote-guitar in time with a bunch of dots appearing on a six-stringed thing on the telly, which in some weird tenuous way related to the music to the track you are playing along to. The second time I tried it I chose the Who's Seeker, which I can play pretty well on the wooden guitar, but I absolutely totally ballsed it up on Guitar Hero, the remote thing was twanging all over she shop, people were laughing at me and I felt completely and utterly demeaned. 

That was until I remembered I had a skill that could be used without a TV, two Wii remotes and bluetooth technology. 

It can be really good fun playing along to someone else's song on the guitar, and its integral to learning how to play, but there is just something missing in Guitar Hero. Exactly what sense of achievement do you get for being able to press buttons in the right order, at the right time? I found the game filled me with exactly the same buzz that flicking through the channels to find that there is nothing on but the same episode of Friends where everyone does something really annoying.

As with most pointless wastes of time with no real outcome, Remote Control Hero has become a worldwide phenomena with Guitar Hero nights overtaking Karaoke in nightclubs and bars, and the worlds greatest film director and the man who single handedly killed the last part of the X Men trilogy, Brett Ratner wants to make a big budget Hollywood film based on it. I'm not even going to go into the many obvious reasons why this is the most rediculous thing in the world. 

After having a quick scan of the wikipedia article about the game and its cultural significance, there are reports of " 2.5 million out of 12 million children in the United Kingdom have taken up real instruments after playing music video games" and helping children develop their rythm and possibilities of schools using it for music education. While these effects of the game are generally positive, I'm just left wondering what these statistics mean anything. These 2.5 million kids could have ended up taking up Guitar anyway, it seems to suggest that Guitar Hero is a gateway to real instruments in the same way cannabis resin is a gateway to crack cocaine.

But then again its quicker, cheaper, and easier than actually learning to play an instrument and letting other peoples songs inspire and teach you to use the instrument for its full creative potential to create new music. Why would anyone want to invest time and effort when they can mash plastic buttons in the shallow illusion of playing along with a bunch of tunes chosen for increasing difficult guitar wankery rather than actual musical value.

There you go, a really long winded and pretty pointless way of saying that I didn't like Guitar Hero.

Things that are amusing me at the moment:

1. Being Human: surprisingly good.
2. iPhone: For the third week running, slipped down to number two
3. Cake: Shaping up nicely for the next few months
4. Snow. Its still here!
5. Twitter. Its just ace.

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